IPA’s Technical Conference is coming up quickly. Scheduled for June 7-9 in Chicago (www.ipa.org/tech), this conference is in its 40th year and has long been a terrific source of technical and management information and guidance in our ever-evolving industry.

This year, in light of the significant developments over the last year or two in the workflow arena, the Technical Conference will feature its first ever Workflow RoundUP. Co-developed by IPA and the Ghent Workgroup, the Workflow RoundUP will test a range of products and processes, and its results will be beneficial to graphic communications service providers in their efforts to make sense of this dynamic area of the business. Later this month, WhatTheyThink will conduct an in-depth interview with David Zwang of the Ghent Workgroup, who will share more insight into what to expect from this groundbreaking workflow event.

I am also looking forward to a few other aspects of the Technical Conference:

  1. The third annual Color Proofing RoundUP will provide us with a fact-based assessment of the wonderful color proofing technologies available in the market today. Of course, every vendor says their solution is the best … but the efforts of independent organizations like IPA keep us honest and provide excellent guidelines and feedback for graphic arts service providers, who are ready to buy in to new hardcopy, remote and monitor color proofing solutions. The results of this Proofing RoundUP will help you systematically compare color proofing systems to match your specific requirements and workflow.
  2. Two provocative keynotes will add to the value of the conference. Jeff Jacobson, COO of Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group, will offer a futuristic view of graphic communications; and David Schawk, President & CEO of Schawk, Inc., will talk about the market trends and customer demands that are driving change into our industry.
  3. While the primary focus is on technical solutions, a management track for business managers will offer insights on workflow improvements from a bottom line perspective. Case studies will focus on processes involved in successfully implementing a color-managed workflow from the perspective of the agency, publication, catalog and commercial and digital print markets.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I confess that I will be participating in two panels—one on Content Management, and one on the Soft Signage opportunity. Both will include an overview of the respective market, the latest trends and opportunities they offer, and real-world experiences shared by talented practitioners.

For busy professionals looking for down-to-earth advice, networking opportunities, and some time away from the shop to think about the future, this event will be just the ticket. I hope to see you there.